At Laurel Lodge our staff held a special date night to celebrate the 66th wedding anniversary of our residents who haven’t been able to hold hands in over four months. 

Derek and Phyllis enjoying their meal at their reunion date staff threw for them at Laurel Lodge.

Our lovely resident Phyllis has been with us at Laurel Lodge throughout the lockdown since June, separated from her husband of sixty six years due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Unfortunately they were unable to celebrate their anniversary in February, but Derek recently made the decision to also move into Laurel Lodge to be close to his beloved. Derek had been visiting Phyllis weekly, doing socially distanced and through the window meetings. 

Derek was actually planning on entering another care home but he was so impressed with the quality of care he saw Phyllis receiving, that he decided to change his plans to join her at Laurel Lodge. This was a huge compliment to our staff, and manager Danielle immediately began planning a special way of celebrating their reunion. 

Invitation for Derek and Phyllis asking them to be free from 4pm for their surprise date.

Upon Derek’s arrival in the home both he and Phyllis were given an invitation to their exclusive date, and asked to be free the following Friday from 4pm (Friday 23rd October).

Derek dressed in his suit ready for date with wife Phyllis, holding a single red rose.

Manager Danielle even involved Derek and Phyllis’s daughter Heather in the surprise, getting hold of one of Derek’s favourite suits and Phyllis’s favourite outfit to make it that bit more special.

Not only that, but Heather also provided photographs of them throughout their lives together so we could really personalise their evening. 

The staff group were hard at work on Friday afternoon clearing the dining room to make way for this intimate special evening.

Love heart garlands were hung from chandeliers, balloons were strung from doorways, rose petals were placed all over the floor and the table was decorated to make a romantic and exclusive meal just for them.

Derek and Phyllis share a kiss before sitting down for their reunion dinner together.

Staff members Elizabeth and Jack provide musical entertainment for Derek and Phyllis’s reunion date night.

Manager Danielle Bullent donned her chef whites to cook a special reunion meal for Derek and Phyllis who’ve been married 66 years.

Manager Danielle took to the kitchen to cook their meal, and even donned her chef whites for the evening cooking a beautiful steak for each of them, as well as vegetables, breads, and dessert. 

Kelise and Ashleigh, two of our amazing carers, chose to come in on their day off to play the part of waitresses for the meal, pouring champagne and offering assistance.

Deputy manager Elizabeth and carer Jack also came in on their day off to provide the atmosphere of a restaurant with Elizabeth playing piano and singing, and Jack playing the guitar. They took our resident couple on an amazing musical journey through some classic love songs, as well as getting them singing along.  

Derek and Phyllis enjoying their date night, with staff members who put the whole event together.

It means so much to us as a company that the bond between our staff and residents is so strong, they would be willing to spend their days off doing something to make our residents day extra special.

Carers Kelise and Ashleigh acting as waitresses for Derek and Phyllis’s date night.

During the meal we asked carer Ashleigh why she wanted to be there, she said: 

“I could be at home right now watching TV and sitting in my dressing gown, or I can come here and make them smile”. 

Thank you to the Laurel Lodge team for making this such a special occasion for Derek and Phyllis. 

Derek and Phyllis toasted to their continued happy marriage and to the staff for giving them a lovely evening.

Staff beside Derek and Phyllis as they celebrated their reunion at Laurel Lodge after months apart due to covid19.